How early experiences shape attraction, partner preferences, and attachment dynamics

Marie E. Heffernan, R. Chris Fraley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, the authors discuss the impact of early experiences on attraction and attachment in adulthood. First, the authors review three theoretical perspectives that provide potential explanations for how early experiences might shape what people find physically attractive. Specifically, the authors review research and theory on sexual imprinting, mere exposure, and optimal outbreeding. Next, the authors discuss how early experiences may impact the formation of an attachment bond in adulthood, beyond the effects of physical attraction per se. Finally, the authors present a template-matching model that integrates multiple theoretical perspectives to explain how early experiences impact both mate preferences and attachment dynamics in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBases of Adult Attachment
Subtitle of host publicationLinking Brain, Mind and Behavior
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781461496229
ISBN (Print)9781461496212
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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